The priest, who heckled Pope Francis, earlier urged not to recognize OCU

John Diotis expressed his protest against the visit of the pontiff to Greece. Photo: screenshot from the Global News YouTube channel

The Greek priest, who publicly called Pope Francis a heretic, is Protopresbyter John Diotis, previously known for his letter calling not to recognize the OCU.

On December 4, when Pope Francis arrived at the Archbishopric of Athens, an elderly Greek priest protested against the pontiff's visit by shouting out loud three times: "The Pope is a heretic!" Police officers immediately pushed the priest back. According to the local media, it turned out to be Protopresbyter of the Greek Orthodox Church, 90-year-old John Diotis.

Father John is known for his letter to the Holy Synods of Local Orthodox Churches in 2019 with an appeal not to recognize the OCU. “’Now my soul is troubled’ (John 12:27) in view of the commotion over the schism in the whole of Orthodoxy. Your Holiness, the most acute and extremely dangerous problem of Ukraine is not church autocephaly, but church schism. In the current conditions, autocephaly will further exacerbate the split and give rise to a number of other problems. I foresee that, in addition to the Moscow Patriarchate, other autocephalous Churches will also rupture with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The age-old ecclesiastical status of Kiev cannot be changed unilaterally, but only with the consent of the parties concerned,” wrote Protopresbyter John Diotis.

The violent actions of the Athenian police on December 4, during the meeting of Pope Francis, did not quench the spirit of the elderly priest. Pushed aside by the police and fallen to the ground, John Diotis got up and repeated, “The Pope is a heretic. He must repent! Until then, he is not welcome in Greece."

Protopresbyter John K. Diotis was born in 1930 in the Greek village of Paleokatuna. After serving in the navy, he graduated from the theological faculty of the University of Athens. Since 1957, for more than 40 years he served in the Athens church of the Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon. John Diotis is the co-founder of the famous Greek Orthodox newspaper "Orthodox Tipos", the owner of ecclesiastical and secular honorary awards, including the highest award of the Orthodox Church of Greece, the Order of St. Paul the Apostle.

As reported by the UOJ, in Greece the Pope apologized to the Orthodox for the mistakes of the Catholics.

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